Historian Returns for Encore Presentation of Riverside Park History – with added material.
PHOTO CAPTION: This image of the steamboat Sylvia, which ferried residents from downtown Springfield to Riverside Park from 1900-1924, is part of local historian David Cecchi’s encore presentation of “Riverside Park: 100 years as Playground of the Connecticut Valley” to be held at the Agawam Senior Center on Friday, June 16, 2017 at 7:00 PM as part of the Agawam Cultural Council’s Applause Series. (Image from the collection of David Cecchi) This event concludes the thirteenth season of the Agawam Cultural Council’s popular Applause Series.
The capacity crowd of nearly 150 who attended Cecchi’s February presentation was proof positive that local interest in the fascinating history of the park remains high 20 years after the Carroll family sold the property to Premier Parks. Unfortunately, dozens of people were turned away at the door for lack of space, including, almost, some family members.
After seeing the disappointed guests, Cecchi offered to return for an encore. The author of Arcadia Publishing’s Image of America title Riverside Park, Cecchi will share images and stories from the past hundred years to illustrate the growth of Riverside Park from popular 19th century picnic spot to New England’s largest amusement park. Additionally, new images acquired since the publication of the book will be included in the presentation, which will be sponsored by E. Cecchi Farms.
Situated on the banks of the Connecticut River, Riverside was a destination for area residents for more than a century. Thousands swam in “Lake Takadip;” danced and romanced at Cook’s Dancing Pavilion; raced at the Speedway on Saturday nights; skated at “The Rollaway;” and thrilled to roller coasters and countless other attractions.
The Agawam Senior Center is located at 954 Main Street in Agawam, Massachusetts and can be reached by phone at (413) 821-0604. This and all Applause Series events are free and open to the public.
Additional information on each of the Applause Series events is available at the Agawam Cultural Council web site, www.agawamcc.org.
The Agawam Cultural Council is an all-volunteer local partner of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, and is funded, in part, by the MCC. The ACC is charged with bringing engaging, entertaining, and educational events and opportunities in the arts, humanities, and interpretive sciences, to children and adults from Agawam and the surrounding communities.